Seattle Mariners

Mariners notebook: 4 players promoted from Tacoma

Rainiers outfielder James Jones steals second base in the first inning as El Paso second basemen Lindsey Taylor can’t get to a errant throw in April. The speedy Jones will finish the season with the Mariners after being recalled Tuesday.
Rainiers outfielder James Jones steals second base in the first inning as El Paso second basemen Lindsey Taylor can’t get to a errant throw in April. The speedy Jones will finish the season with the Mariners after being recalled Tuesday. The News Tribune

As expected, four reinforcements joined the Mariners on Tuesday from Triple-A Tacoma — and the list is notable for whom it doesn’t include.

The Mariners opted not to recall catcher Mike Zunino, shortstop Chris Taylor or left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery.

Instead, the club chose to add Steve Baron as its third catcher for the stretch run while recalling first baseman/designated hitter Jesus Montero and outfielder James Jones and adding reliever JC Ramirez.

“James Jones can steal bases,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We sent Montero down just to get some at-bats. The reports on (Ramirez) is he’s a power arm who is throwing close to 100 miles an hour.”

Baron and Ramirez had to be added to the 40-man roster. The moves came one day after Tacoma ended its season with a 5-0 victory at Las Vegas.

The Mariners also transferred lefty reliever Charlie Furbush to the 60-day disabled list. He hasn’t pitched since July 7 because of what was eventually diagnosed as a small tear in his rotator cuff.

McClendon said the club promoted Baron after determining Zunino would gain greater long-term benefit by heading to the Instructional League, which begins later this month, to correct hitting flaws.

“Mike is still very much (a part of) our future. Going into spring training next year, I would consider him my everyday catcher. We thought this was the best path, moving forward, for his career,” McClendon said.

“Taylor will go to the Instructional League as well. Similar thing. Work on his swing.”

Montgomery struggled in recent weeks and is nearing his projected innings limit for the season. He is already at 155 1/3 innings, a high in his eight-year pro career, after pitching 126 innings in 2014.

“I think it was a combination of both,” McClendon said, “but more than anything, it was the innings. They were starting to build up.”

Montero, 25, returns after going 10 for 18 with two homers and 10 RBIs in a five-game remedial assignment following the Sept. 1 move to option him to the Rainiers.

He batted .200 with two homers and nine RBIs in 25 big league games, but was mired in a 2-for-36 slump when sent to Tacoma.

Jones, 26, spent much of last season with the Mariners before getting squeezed off the roster this year following several veteran additions. He batted .272 in 72 games at Tacoma with 24 steals in 28 attempts.

Jones missed six weeks after suffering a broken toe in mid-July but batted .350 in 11 games after rejoining the Rainiers.

Baron, 24, has never played in the big leagues. He batted a career-high .265 this season in 88 games, including .277 in 53 games at Tacoma following his June 4 promotion from Double-A Jackson.

“I was obviously shocked,” Baron said. “I think my body is still numb, kind of. It’s been a long road for me, but I’m just happy to be here, and I hope I can contribute.”

The Mariners selected Baron with the 33rd overall pick in the 2011 draft.

Ramirez, 27, returned to the Mariners from Arizona in a July 27 cash transaction and compiled a 3.73 ERA in 26 games at Tacoma. A native Nicaraguan, he signed with the Mariners in 2005 as a 16-year-old.

The Mariners traded Ramirez in December 2009 to Philadelphia with outfielder Tyson Gillies and pitcher Phillippe Aumont for pitcher Cliff Lee.

WILSON JOINS STAFF

Former catcher Dan Wilson will join the big league coaching staff for the remainder of the season. The rules permit clubs to add one full-time coach to their staff from Sept. 1 through the end of the season.

Wilson, 46, concluded a 16-year career in 2005 and was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame in 2012. He currently serves as the organization’s minor league catching coordinator.

PITCHING PLANS

Lefty swingman Vidal Nuno will get another spot start Wednesday, McClendon confirmed, and lefty James Paxton is tentatively targeted for a Sunday return to the rotation against Colorado.

“I wanted to see what kind of workload (Nuno) had out of the bullpen,” McClendon explained, “before I made that decision. He pitched (part of) an inning (Sunday) in Oakland. He’s clean. He’s ready to go.”

Nuno was pressed back into the rotation after Paxton suffered a setback Sept. 2 in what projected as his final rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma in his recovery from a strained tendon in his middle finger.

Paxton suffered a blister and a torn fingernail on the same finger.

“It’s feeling pretty good,” he said. “(The nail) is starting to stick back down to my finger. I played catch (Monday) and there was no pain throwing. That’s a good sign.”

Tentative plans call for Paxton to throw a regular bullpen session Thursday and, if all goes well, return Sunday to the rotation for the first time since May 28.

INJURY UPDATES

Outfielders Nelson Cruz and Franklin Gutierrez remain missing from the starting lineup, although each took part Tuesday in regular batting practice.

Cruz said he felt “better” in his recovery from a strained right quadriceps muscle suffered Sept. 2 in Houston. He underwent an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam Tuesday that showed nothing unexpected.

Club officials clarified Gutierrez’s injury, which was previously characterized as a strained right groin muscle. While his ailment is in the groin area, it stems from his chronic joint issues.

MINOR DETAILS

Double-A Jackson outfielder Ian Miller closed the season with a rush and was picked as the player of the week in the Southern League for Aug. 31 to Sept. 7.

Miller, 23, was 13 for 28 in six games, which boosted his final average to .267 for 126 games split between the Generals (87) and High-A Bakersfield (39). He also stole 50 bases in 68 attempts.

The Mariners selected Miller in the 14th round of the 2013 draft.

LOOKING BACK

It was 14 years ago Wednesday — Sept. 9, 2001 — that Bret Boone broke the American League record for RBIs by a second baseman when he pushed his total to 128 with a two-run homer in a 6-0 victory at Baltimore.

The previous record of 127 was set by Detroit’s Charlie Gehringer in 1934. Boone finished the season with a league-leading 141 RBIs, which remains the AL record for second baseman.

The major league record for a second baseman is 152 by Rogers Hornsby of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1922. Hornsby also has the second and third top seasons: 149 in 1929 and 143 in 1925. Boone ranks fourth.

ON TAP

The Mariners and Rangers continue their four-game series at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday at Safeco Field. Lefty swingman Vidal Nuno (0-2, 3.72) will face Texas lefty Martin Perez (2-4, 5.07).

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.com

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